Project Runway’s Rami Kashou: Where Is He Now?

Name: Rami Kashou

Age and Locale: 33, LA

How You Know Him: Viewers of Project Runway‘s fourth season will surely remember Rami Kashou. He was the friendly, optimistic, and driven designer known for his signature draping look. If it was draped, flowy, and beautiful, chances are, it was one of Rami’s pieces. So it was no surprise when he made it to the final three to show at Fashion Week. And though he ultimately lost to his “fierce” competitor, Christian Siriano, the experience was only a win-win. Maybe he didn’t win the big prize money, any showy titles, or inspire national catch phrases like Christian (hot tranny mess!), but ask him today, and he’ll tell you he walked away a winner. In fact, that’s just what we did! “I felt like the judges finally saw and appreciated my work and said some great things about it even though I didn’t win,” he said of that final jaunt down the catwalk. “I walked out with a great review, a signature style, and I’ve learned success is not always measured by strictly winning. You can win in other ways as well later on. Not to take away from Christian, it was just a matter of taste, and when I saw [guest judge] Victoria Beckham, I just go it, she’s not going to go for my style, that’s for sure. I was just hoping they would appreciate my work, and they did, and I was relieved.”

Where he’s been: “Even after the show was over, you have a lot of doors opened for you, but there’s still a lot of hard work to be done. That first year was very overwhelming; there are so many people who know you and your work, but you don’t know them and we had to weed out so many emails to figure out which were fan mail and which were business opportunities. I worked really hard to get where I was before the show, and I think after you come out, instead of paving one block at a time, it may pave 10 blocks in a few months for you. That’s the advantage of the show; it helps you skip a lot of steps you would maybe have to go through in regular life in our industry. I’ve worked with the Home Shopping Network where I sold exclusive designs from the show and it’s been doing really, really well, and now, will hopefully be negotiating doing regular visits there with my ready to wear line. I’ve also been doing a lot of special orders for wedding dresses and cocktail dresses. The wedding gown has been a new venture for me. Since people saw the finale collection, where they saw my evening wear, that’s where I felt a much higher demand and it’s been really great.”

“Christian’s [Siriano] the same way as he is on the show and sometimes that kind of strong energy you want to take in doses.”

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A Colorful Cast: “The intensity of the program is so high that you become desensitized to what you normally notice in a regular environment. We’re sewing night and day and barely have any free time to sit and catch up. But it was a very colorful cast; each one of us was opposite from the other, but we all shared one thing, which was a very strong passion for doing what we love and having strong opinions. And I think we generally got along pretty well. We would sit and sing silly songs because we were so exhausted. There was a lot of goofing off that you didn’t see much, but I think when you’re so exhausted and so confined, you act really silly and we were all guilty of that at a certain point. After a while, it was like, okay, enough of this, but that’s how it was. Christian’s the same way as he is on the show and sometimes that kind of strong energy you want to take in doses.”

Draping, Draping, and More Draping: “I think it was very highly publicized, which was an advantage in a way, but at the same time I was also doing a lot of different things before that, that are also part of my work. It became a staple and signature, which was great, but during the show was a little bit difficult because I knew I did other things. But they heightened that because it was a dramatic angle they wanted to take on me. It’s part of my work, and very much demanded, and I think a lot of women of different shapes and sizes request that style because the design is very forgiving to the body. And even when I sold my designs on HSN they requested that style because there was such a huge market for it. There are also super constructed pieces I do, but I think your work always stands out in one style, and for me it’s been draping.”

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Relax…It’s Just Fashion….on Reality TV: “When I was making my final collection it was very difficult because there were all these mixed signals you were getting from Heidi, Nina, Michael, or Tim, especially where they did the cliffhanger where me and Chris March didn’t know whether we’d be showing or not. It was very difficult as an artist to think freely, when you know that there’s a very high price to pay and a lot at stake. Everything is so intense and so heightened and so dramatized for the sake of the show and ratings, that at certain points, it’s not that realistic. It’s a lot more difficult than it looks. I did not know that I would film all of that in one month and not have a single day off. It was constant, constant, constant work day and night. It’s a lot more physically intense than I would have thought, there’s not much relaxation, and a lot more intense. It’s what it looks like on TV times three.”

“Beforehand it was so easy to throw opinions at the TV when you’re sitting back on your couch drinking wine.”

Inspired Insight: “I watched while I was on the show and it was one experience, but I watched it after I was on the show, and my whole outlook changed. Beforehand it was so easy to throw opinions at the TV when you’re sitting back on your couch drinking wine. But after doing the show and knowing all the interruptions that take place, and people are filming and you’re not free to go about and do anything you want, and there are always things that need to be set up; I give respect to all of the people who have been on the show and I would not judge any one of them. I understand more of what they’re going because I’ve been there. But now I laugh a lot.

The One with the Wrestlers: “That was the worst one for me. I was just thinking how can I make such a tough, strong, woman look like a feminine, cheerful, bouncy, girl next door, when it looks like stripper wear. Every time I design, I’m always trying to make something look sophisticated and elegant, and how do you take a strong neon and spandex two piece swimsuit-like costume and make it look elegant and sophisticated? I just had to throw the hat and admit this was a mess, I’m the first one to say it, and I hated it myself. That was one I just couldn’t wrap my head around it; it was so stressful.”

Best of the Best: “I loved the Met challenge, even though they gave me a hard time about it, it didn’t matter, that was my place of inspiration. It was really magical to be at the Met at 5:30 in the morning. It was empty, nobody was there, and it was so beautiful, and just to be able to roam around and take pictures, which normally I don’t think is ever allowed, was really magical. I’ll always remember that day. And I loved the candy challenge. Partly because I won, but more importantly, because I never expected that would come out of me. When you can surprise yourself with something positive like that, then that’s a pretty nice challenge, and I loved that.”

A-List Fans: “I think things were heightened just for the sake of the show, because what proved that to me, was after the show wrapped, and after all of the draping, it was nice to have Heidi Klum’s office call and request a few signature looks for her resembling what I did on the show and she wore them. I dressed Malin Ackerman for the Watchmen premiere, and I’ve worked with Becki Newtown, and Jessica Alba. I’ve worked with some of these celebrities before and it’s doubled after and that’s been a really nice added element as well.”

Guess this Blind Item Client? “I can’t release yet any info of who it is, but I’ve been working with and designing some things for a very important person. I don’t have the liberty to yet say it but they’re very influential people, politically, let’s just put it that way.”

What’s Next: “I’m doing my spring ‘10 collection, and I would still love to open my own boutique with evening wear and bridal pieces. I would like to focus more on evening and bridal because that’s where my heart is, and where the most response is, and there’s future in that for me. I’d also like to try and break into the Middle Eastern market because there’s also a huge market there for me and that’s where my focus has been.”

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.


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